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Russell, Charles (1817–1892)

A notorious criminal, whose name was in the early "fifties" a terror to colonists generally, and especially to diggers going to Melbourne, has just died in Bendigo gaol. This individual, Charles Russell alias "Black Douglas," was born at Bristol, England, 75 years ago, and arrived in the colonies while still a young man. At first he devoted himself to prize fighting, but afterwards turned his attention to bushranging, and soon gained great notoriety for his lawless deeds. He was a powerfully built man, 6 feet 3 or 4 inches in height. Diggers returning to Melbourne were frequently waylaid and robbed. One of his exploits was robbing a gold escort between Bendigo and McIvor. Eventually, however, he was captured. Since his release from imprisonment for those offences, he has served terms for petty crimes, and when he died was in gaol under a sentence of three months received at Rochester for vagrancy. Of late years he has been of a rather quiet disposition, and made pretence of being skilled in phrenology.

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Citation details

'Russell, Charles (1817–1892)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 29 November 2020.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2020

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Black Douglas

Bristol, Gloucestershire, England


May 1892
Bendigo, Victoria, Australia

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